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A little insight on being an animator -> director, mograph

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Taken from an interesting slack conversation, I didn't want this to get lost, so here it is.

I didn't know if there were some unwritten rules about including names or not, but seeing as the focus is the content, I left them out.

I didn't edit or anything besides trying to separate the conversation.


Your work is fantastic. Being a CD, how much animating do you still get to do?


The transition had it’s challenges. There was a lot of things I had to learn. Going from a maker mentality to teacher/manager/coach mentality. Being hands off. So I can focus on getting the team all moving in the same direction. Becoming a translator. listening to client needs and turning that into actionable items for my team to make.

——I got lucky with the position. I had worked for blind for a few years as a freelancer, and they were looking for fresh blood to bring in, mix things up, and train. I’m very fortunate.

I’d love to make a jump from trailer guy into a more mograph position but stability in a position is key as I have a family to provide for. Who knows. It may happen still, god willing.


Stability can be tricky for mograph. I guess it depends on where you live, and what market you apply your skills to.The traditional motion design studios of the 90’s-00's – not a healthy place right now. Lots of shops struggling, because the money has dispersed in so many places. Small shops seem to be doing ok.In house at an agency, or internal team at a network/tech/entertainment company, seems to be a market with need at the moment.Definitely opportunity out there. And the need will continue to shift and change around.


do you miss actually making stuff? I remember at one point i kinda got into a more management area, was outsourcing a lot etc.. ( all was remote, so not the same thing) But then i realized what i enjoy most is actually making all the stuff so i went back to just making things myself. works much better for me.


I’ve found that what I’ve enjoyed the most is helping other people and delivering something valuable to them. Whether thats a client, student, or the community. So even in my current position I’m trying to branch out in more of those areas.When I get the itch I jump on the box, I usually help out in the early stages in the design and r&d. The problem solving is fun for me. Though mostly, my “maker itch” is resolved by making content – articles, tutorials, etc. So I’ve made a shift.

I’m very fortunate. So these days, I try to share what I can with others


this seems to be a path that some people naturally take, so you're not alone there. It rings true for me as well. Splitting time between maker and mentor mentality can be really satisfying at a certain age. You're definitely in a good spot for that. That transition from maker to manager and mentor is a weird one when you've only known your creative drive from a maker stance. Plenty of people find it's not what they enjoy. Can be confusing when the business path through growth always leads to management but it sounds like it's good for you. Congrats.


So true. Not everyone wants/needs to be promoted to a manager.My fiancee went from designer to AD, and she hated it. She left and went back freelance. It’s a different skill set for sure. And a different path not everyone should pursue.


There's kind of a cultural expectation of growth toward management. The social ladder / rat race, if you will. I find that successful makers are slightly more introspective on average, but when everyone implicitly says that the path to maturity and on to glory is to move into director seats, a lot of us will take the bait, and then find to our disappointment that it has little to do with our interests. That's a tough lesson, especially with the money part thrown in, and it's not something we talk about much. Good on your lady for knowing herself and staying true.


Yeah there's a lot of cultural (and financial) pressure to move along the business ladder, but it doesn't really work for a lot of creatives. Give it a shot at some point because you never know, but don't think a director's chair is what you should be after.
















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